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Mumbai Startup AutoNxt Pioneers Autonomous Vehicles In India, Starting With An Electric Tractor

Mumbai Startup AutoNxt Pioneers Autonomous Vehicles In India, Starting With An Electric Tractor

AutoNxt’s self reliant tractor is ideal for farm operations which includes tilling, pest control, ploughing and sowing

Founded in 2016, AutoNxt is presently running with larger farmers running with grapes

It envisions a tractor-sharing platform to reach greater farmers and make its tractor greater low-cost

What does the future of farming appear to be? Will Indian farmers preserve to apply cattle and human labour to paintings the land or will technology lessen this burden to a large volume? That’s the question that many agritech startups are grappling with. Even as farmland profits is being boosted with the aid of the usage of generation, more may be completed to resolve the load on farmers. 

As Tesla unveiled its self-riding truck and Uber maintains to construct an self sustaining vehicle community; India too has a contender in the independent car area — AutoNxt Automation. The Mumbai-based totally enterprise’s prototype self sufficient electric powered tractor has been advanced for a variety of farming operations consisting of tilling, spraying insecticides, ploughing, sowing seeds and greater. 

Once a farm is geofenced the usage of geographical coordinates, and the farmer has defined a direction for the tractor, AutoNxt’s independent farmhand can retrace that route ad infinitum on a day by day basis, ensuring that any operation is conducted continuously. The tractor will become responsive in a remember of seconds or even indicators farmer’s cellular or tablet gadgets when it sees any obstruction for extra than five mins.  

Speaking to CFT, Kaustubh Dhonde, CEO of AutoNxt Automation, stated the problem with proudly owning a traditional tractor in India is that there's a lack of humans with the abilties to force a tractor. It additionally includes high operational expense (one wishes to run the tractor for a thousand hours a yr to make the acquisition possible), and health risks, due to the fact driving a tractor, in keeping with Dhonde, is like using a automobile without surprise absorbers on a very awful avenue. 

“You can consider the form of pain that they [farmers] undergo continuously and they generally tend to disregard it due to the fact glaringly the average earnings of a farmer is like much less than INR 7000 in line with month (in case of a small farmer), so it does now not make feel for people to personal a tractor.” – AutoNxt CEO Kaustubh Dhonde

In order to conquer the high possession fee of conventional tractors, farmers generally rent or hire the tractors from massive farms or businesses providing agricultural renting services. The diesel-run tractors whilst replaced with self reliant electric powered tractors correctly reduce the tractor ownership price via 1/2 and eliminate the need for a professional motive force. However, Dhonde referred to that this does not remove jobs as AutoNxt tractors will nevertheless need someone to pressure them from the farmer’s domestic to the farm. 

Building Ola, Uber For Tractors?

AutoNxt envisions the adoption in their tractors to be similar to experience-hailing corporations consisting of Ola and Uber, in which people will purchase tractors and then rent people to drop them to the farms.

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Currently, AutoNxt tractors take 3 to four hours to be charged and the vehicle’s range can range from 4 to five hours depending on the type of farm operation this is being achieved. Operating on a exceptional battery chemistry than lithium-ion, AutoNxt tractors may be charged anywhere, whether or not it is a unmarried segment or three phase electricity supply, just needs to be a three-pin socket. 

While, the business enterprise did no longer divulge the battery chemistry to us, Dhonde stated that their battery will last for 10 years with none complaints (considering the average use of the tractor). Founded in 2016 by Dhonde, the company is stated to have spent INR 10 Lakhs in constructing their tractor prototype, along with all of the new release prices as nicely.  

Earlier this month, Sun Mobility’s Chetan Maini and Sandeep Maini have invested in AutoNxt Automation’s ongoing investment round. The brothers had invested thru their new electric powered mobility company, Virya Mobility 5.Zero LLP. Chetan Maini is the vice-chairman of SUN Mobility and is also recognized for pioneering India’s first electric powered car REVA, which is now with Mahindra electric powered.

With those sparkling funds, AutoNxt is looking to execute product changes primarily based on client feedback acquired throughout the pilot checks. Following this, it will work closer to reaching certification inclusive of inexperienced variety plates, and road transport workplace (RTO) clearance that's anticipated to take 4 to six months. It’s most effective after this that the tractor can be launched commercially, with the initial target audience being affluent farmers within the direct-to-consumer model, and collaborations with organizations like EM3 Agri Services and different state government schemes, which permit farmers to rent tractors.

AutoNxt Looks To Tackle The Challenge Of Affordability In India 

Geographically, AutoNext wants to first promote to grape cultivators in wine-producing regions inclusive of Nashik and Karnataka. According to Dhonde, “This may be a perfect region to test the brand new technology both autonomous and electric, because situations are a good deal more on top of things in horticulture as compared to different vegetation.”  

The farmers in these regions are relatively richer and consequently might be extra open to checking out new era, he delivered. 

But the actual achievement could be in making these autonomous tractors extra inexpensive to very own for all styles of farmers. Dhonde believed that the Indian vehicle enterprise has continually focussed at the rate point as they need to sell it immediately to individuals, because the shopping strength of Indian customers is highly lower than the first international international locations. 

But that’s wherein AutoNxt is special, because of the high-tech nature of the product. 

“We don’t want to make less expensive merchandise by using eliminating two crucial technical elements inside the product. We will truly want to scale but to start with we're targeted on ensuring that anything electric powered vehicle we are making, tractor, for example, is best and those consider it,” said Dhonde.

AutoNxt knows that no longer each and each farmer can have the funds for to buy its tractor — Dhonde tells us most effective 18% of farmers can certainly come up with the money for to personal a tractor. Currently, the corporation is said to be in advanced talks with principal tractor producers to begin offering the electric tractor to farmers.

After the a hit launch of their tractors, the agency plans to explore more moderen programs of their self sustaining electric automobile era in different locations in which vehicles or labour follows a predefined route. One such example are the coaches used for taking passengers to and from planes at airports. 

Another company working on a similar self sufficient electric era is Israel-primarily based Taranis, which has also evolved functionalities for farm analytics and predictions as properly. Further, US farm equipment maket John Deere has also introduced an self sustaining electric powered tractor earlier this yr. However, the tractor comes attached with a protracted extension cord to help it navigate via the farms. 

The Indian authorities has been aggressively pushing for electric powered vehicle adoption throughout the usa to reduce greenhouse emissions in one of the international’s most polluted countries. In line with that vision, AutoNxt’s electric tractor can assist convey down carbon emissions on the farm-level too. 

Also Read:- Funding Setbacks, M&As And Pivots: Drivezy’s Redemption Song

Further, India’s agriculture ministry changed into stated to have advanced a farm device condo app for farmers in August. The app became estimated to assist farmers lease tractors, rotavator and different farm-associated machinery on lease for with flexible tenures. The authorities had installation 38K hiring centres to support this renting technique. 

The government’s renting model is similar to what AutoNxt is seeking out their upcoming marketplace launch and after bringing purchasers directly to the sharing economic system, perhaps it’s time to bring the identical concepts to the agriculture region to make autonomous generation extra handy to lots more 19:00, December 10, 2019

The organisation has spent INR 10 Lakhs toward constructing its independent electric tractor prototype. Earlier version of this text erroneously mentioned the spend to be INR 10 Cr.

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